Study: Analytic thinking can decrease religious belief
An exhibit of Rodin's "The Thinker."
April 27th, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Study: Analytic thinking can decrease religious belief

By Becky Perlow, CNN

(CNN) - When was the last time you sat down and questioned your decision to believe in God?

According to a new study, that simple act could decrease your religious conviction – even if you’re a devout believer.

In the study, published Friday in the journal Science, researchers from Canada’s University of British Columbia used subtle stimuli to encourage analytical thinking. Results from the study found that analytical thinking could decrease religious belief.

“Religious belief is intuitive - and analytical thinking can undermine intuitive thinking,” said Ara Norenzayan, co-author of the study. “So when people are encouraged to think analytically, it can block intuitive thinking.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Some of the more than 650 Canadian and American participants in the study were shown images of artwork that encouraged analytic thinking, while another group was shown images that were not intended to produce such thinking.

One of the images used to trigger analytic thinking was of Rodin’s statue “The Thinker.” A previous study showed that such images improved performance on tests that indicate analytic thinking.

In addition to the artwork images, the religion study used other stimuli to promote analytical thinking.

After exposure to such stimuli, researchers gauged participants’ religious beliefs through a series of questions. Subjects who had performed analytical tasks were more likely to experience a decrease in religious belief than those who were not involved in such tasks. That included devout believers.

“There’s much more instability to religious belief than we recognize,” said Norenzayan, noting that life’s circumstances and experiences, from traumatic events to joyous occasions, can lead people to become more or less religious.

“Religion is such an important part of the world and we have so little understanding of it,” he added. “So regardless of what you think about religion, it’s important to understand it because it’s so important in the world.”

Norenzayan is quick to mention that the experiments did not turn devout believers into total atheists. But he speculated that if people habitually think analytically, like scientists or lawyers do, it would lead to less religious belief in the long run.

Robert McCauley, director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Culture at Emory University, and author of "Why religion is natural and science is not," found the study particularly interesting because he thought it was difficult to make even a minimal change in religious belief.

“It’s not likely you would argue someone out of a religious belief very often because they don’t hold those beliefs on argumentative or reflective grounds in the first place,” said McCauley, who believes religious beliefs rely primarily on intuitive thinking.

Analytical thinking alone does not necessarily lead to a decrease in religious belief, emphasized Norenzayan.

“There’s a combination of factors [as to] why people become believers or nonbelievers - this is only one piece of the puzzle,” Norenzayan said, explaining that his team doesn’t think analytical thinking is superior to intuitive thinking.

“It makes the story we need to tell about religion and religious belief all the more complicated,” said McCauley. “That’s what great scientific research does – ask more interesting questions.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Culture & Science

soundoff (3,468 Responses)
  1. binky boo

    God strongly dislikes mormoons

    April 28, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • binky boo

      And He downrights HATES Mitt Romney!

      April 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  2. Bootyfunk

    hard to believe thinking reduces religiosity?

    not really.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • binky boo

      mormoons must be really dumb then.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • GodPot

      Well, based on the fact that 100 IQ is supposed to be the average with most people falling between the 70 – 130 range, it would not be surprising that likely half of the people in the world would have trouble with comprehension skills which make it very difficult for them to think rationally at all. The majority have just given up thinking for themselves and would rather just take someone else's word for it which is why 84% of the world believes in some form of religion.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Cq

      Of the majority who profess some religious belief here is a very wide range of actual belief in the supernatural/mythical aspects. Many, many people actually do not believe in gods very much, and check off their childhood faith on census questionnaires out of habit. I did that for 20 odd years, but that's mostly because they never really offered an alternative to choosing a religion on the form. That's why I take claims of a +80% God believing American population with a grain of salt. The minority of folks who like to cite such statistics one day point their fingers and judge the rest as not being good enough believers the next.

      April 28, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  3. Colin

    A few questions should help shed light on the relationship between religion and rational thought.

    The theory that human beings are being supervised 24 hours a day for reward or punishment after they die comes from the field of:

    (a) Astronomy;

    (b) Medicine;

    (c) Economics; or

    (d) Religion

    You are about 80% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking serpent if you are a:

    (a) historian;

    (b) geologist;

    (c) NASA astronomer; or

    (d) Christian

    The only discipline known to not infrequently cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:

    (a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they are morally obliged to believe on pain of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads;

    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is a composite god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply hel, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or

    (d) All of the above.

    If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there is an obvious visible change in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely f.cking absurd nonsense.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • momoya

      Religion is merely a subset of philosophy, so #3 isn't as clear as it could be.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Colin

      religion is philosophy with Down syndrome.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Cq

      "Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned."

      April 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  4. Welled

    It's not a question if it's true or not. The question might be what was the purpose in the bible being printed and distributed widely in the first place. There has to be a motive to put that much labor and effort into distributing bibles. Not to mention the fact. That lenders actually lend on church's. Why would lenders lend on church's. When the nature of a lender is usury. I'll let some religious person define what usury is its fairly simple. Why a pastor would borrow at usury or the congregation would not condem it is beyond me. Heres the deal. Its big business. Huh? Big business. Look there is motive in people that do business to have Christians that behave. Obey all "authority". The bible of course defines just who is authority. Turn the other cheek. Take your coat give them your pants. Vengence is Gods. Etc. Etc. It's not normal behavior for a man to do such things. See. The bible is pacification simple as that. It is very useful to have people that will take whatever you pay them and not balk at it. It's also useful to have an armed force that can be drafted and not bother to care. See what I'm saying. They can get away with anything with you and you'll just wait till the end for them to get theirs. Thats stuff a Bill Maher leaves out because he's plainy owned. He will never step hard on toes. Not to mention the fact he chortles and laughs with the "hip pastors" that know the score. He knows where this bible stuff comes from and will never dare say it. Deal is Christians or not. Know it or not your robbing right with the people that will be flinging gold out of their caves begging for mercy. God never gave you coal or wood or oil or even his gold on a thousand hills. He never gave you iron or bauxite or any of those things. You darn well better find out exactly what your particpating in. Cause pal it don't matter if you do it unwittingly or not as far as I'm concerned.

    April 28, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  5. AGuest9

    Anyone interested in an original article on the matter (rather than a regurgitated reference dumbed-down for the faithful), check out Scientific American this month, "Losing Your Religion: Analytic Thinking Can Undermine Belief".

    April 28, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  6. God's Oldest Dreamer

    The A in the bellowments is for Atheist and the T is for Theist! Feel free to ask me your questions if any; regarding the perceptives of my lowly Chrstian faith mumblings!

    A: There is no god!
    T: Then how do you explain the fine tuning in our Universe?
    A: There are an infinite number of universes. Given an infinite possibility, any finite tuning becomes possible.
    T: Can you prove that infinite number of universes exist?
    A: No, but it makes sense.
    T: Within my views I do agree in there being infinite universes within the Grand Cosmos!
    A: Because of all the killing in the world done in the name of god, I won't accept God as an answer. I'll believe in far more unlikely things because Mathematics proves to me that even if it is unlikely, it is still possible. Like given enough time, a group of monkeys can produce the entirety of Hamlet if trapped in a room full of typewriters.
    T: What you seem to forget is the finite yet infinite formations of cellularized mini-universes making up all of Life, be it animal or insectual or even plant based!
    A:Are you saying that our bodies are made up of mini-universes of the cellular types?.
    T:Yes, for have you not read in scripture that the Kingdom of God is inside us? We are also His Buildings and He is our husbandy!
    A: Show me that scripture and I will meditate upon it!
    T: Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. 1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.
    A: Is there any scientific way to prove your so-called belief that there are cellularized mini-universes inside all Life as being of worth to consider?
    T: There are many varied scientific compositions regarding "Fractal Cosmology"! I prefer Mr. Robert Oldershaw's rather symplistic amalgum! He or rather his positioning regarding Fractal Cosmology is still but an infancy in its womb! Here is his website,,,,,,,, http://www3.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw/stars2/menu.html I hope you will find it enlightening!
    And does the atheist follow along and go to the web-site or does he/she just mosey away never to give such things a second thought? This moseying on down the road seems to be a natural way for many uneducated folks to do! Just exactly how does one turn others toward really really deep thought-filled ambiences of the truth-filled types?
    A: I am back! So this Fractal Cosmology,,,, I can see that the Celestial Cosmos may well be made up of an infinite amount of universes! I can somewhat understand that all life forms are made up of cellularized universes! How then does Time have meaning between the cellular and celestial universes?
    T: Time is relative to one's surroundings! Do you not know that our sun's planets orbit the sun all in differences of Time itself! Our earth revolves around the sun in approximately 365 days but,,,, the planets closer to the sun revolve at much a faster Time and in reverse the planets further from the sun revolve at a slower Time!
    A: I do somewhat understand your proposition that Time is relative to one's placement within their spheres of influence, BUT,,,,, How is Time affected within what you proclaim to be cellularized universes?
    T: Time within such a construct as within a cellularized universe goes by at such a phenominal rate, that one second of our Time is but years within the realms of the cellularized universes! And likewise outside the Cosmos of infinite universes only a very few seconds of Cosmotic Time goes by while in our Time billions of years have gone by!
    A: So what you are attempting to say is,,,, Time is a preferential dimension based upon where one is within any planetary sphere of influence?
    T: Yes!
    A: Where then does God play a role in this Celestial Cosmos of Fractal Cosmologies?
    T: God is in 3 dimensions all at the same Time! God is above the Celestial Cosmos of infinite universes and He is inside the cellularized universes and He walks amidst our Beings in everyone's mindfielded brainyards! God has given to His Son Christ Jesus rulership of all things that are plant based! Thru humanity's consuming of other life forms for sustanence sakes, an emergence of the Godly generations are unfolded within all Life that consumes life!
    A: I am somewhat puzzled in your words. Maybe if I have it written down then I can look at it once in a while when the mood strikes me.
    T: Copy and paste it into your files!
    A: Okay then! See you around the next turn of the bend! Good bye!
    T: Good bye yourself you old hack!

    April 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • GodPot

      "A: There are an infinite number of universes" Um, I hadn't heard that atheist = multi-verse theorist.

      " have you not read in scripture that the Kingdom of God is inside us?" Oh, so it's true because your book says it is with no proof of Kingdom or God?

      T: insert lots of science talk and theory, use big words to sound smart, fractal this, cosmology that...

      "A: Where then does God play a role in this Celestial Cosmos of Fractal Cosmologies?"

      "God is in 3 dimensions all at the same Time!" He states with absolutely no scientific basis whatsoever even though he tried to sound smart at first...

      A: I am not puzzled in your words at all. You make no sense and instead of being a person who has just gained any knowledge I am just a person who wasted some of that time that is so relative to my surroundings. Maybe if I have it written down then I can look at it once in a while to remind me of how stupid theists are...

      April 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm |

      Yep, and just think of it like this

      If all these imaginary universes actually existed, that means SANTA CLAUS CAN EXIST!!!!!

      April 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm |


      "I hadn't heard that atheist = multi-verse theorist."

      For some strange reason though, they always seem linked together

      Anyways one can just say "Naturalist".

      no difference to me, atheists are capable of being irrational, and coming up with stupid theories about the nature of reality, that's the point.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Evan

      I've simply never understood how a multi-verse would discredit fine-tuning because the probability of a universe like ours coming into existence is based off theoretical probability, meaning the existence of other scenarios would be irrelevant.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "I won't accept God as an answer. I'll believe in far more unlikely things"

      LOL. there is NOTHING more unlikely than God. sowwy.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • GodPot

      "atheists are capable of being irrational, and coming up with stupid theories about the nature of reality, that's the point." To claim any theory is stupid when there is no evidence for or against it just invalidates any and all theories that have no evidence for or against them, such as your own. Now scientific theory is very different, since a Scientist creates scientific theories with the scientific method, when they are originally proposed as hypotheses and tested for accuracy through observations and experiments. Notice the scientist does not claim it as fact before it is tested and verified as theists do. Theists claim GODDIDIT and then give nothing as proof of God other than "Well we are here aren't we?" and then often revert to their complex universe theory to say "Everything is so complex God MUST exist!!" without ever thinking that if the it's the complexity that proves God, then how do you explain the infinitely complex deity required to create universal complexity? To which the theist replies "Arghh, my brain hurts, it's too complex, why can't you just accept our version and donate to our church!!"

      April 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • momoya

      @Nature falls & Evan

      Yeah, but when scientists theorize about other dimensions and a multiverse they don't follow it up by telling you that you'll go to an eternal fire-torture pit if you don't believe or you don't marry somebody of the gender they approve and all that sort of stupidity.

      A multi-verse does NOT discredit "fine-tuning.". There's simply nothing to "credit" "fine-tuning" to.. You'd have to prove "fine tuning" before it can ever be "discredited.". You can't "discredit" unicorns because nobody has yet proved unicorns.. Duh.


      A multi-verse is just ONE way to explain how a universe might APPEAR "fine-tuned" from within that particular universe.. It's just presenting one possibility out of trillions..

      April 28, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      NATUREDIDIT Fails and GodPot,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,.,..,.,.,

      What's up? Finding to many blockages in one's brainyards or is it the mindfields of socialisms lumbering logs in the rivers of Life getting all backed up and gumming up the works so one cannot run their logs of embitterments to the saw mills? Time for some people to wash their brainy yards of all the doggie dew that piles up all too fast!

      April 28, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • GodPot

      "What's up? Finding to many blockages in one's brainyards" Ah, the old "I have nothing to refute your reasoned response so I'll just spew out some hokey rhetoric and say you're shlt for brains...nanny nanny boo boo"

      April 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      momoya & Nature falls & Evan ,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,.,,..

      The Great Celestial Cosmos is still a work in-progress and will never be a completion even if mankind live another trillion billion years! Does one not need light when magnigying small things of the microscopic levels? Does one not need a timed exposure when one points the Hubble Space Telescope toward the very blackest of outer space regions? Time and distance are unequivocally separate angular momentums in the regions of outer space and inner space!

      April 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      GodPot wrote oon Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm, stating, "What's up? Finding to many blockages in one's brainyards" Ah, the old "I have nothing to refute your reasoned response so I'll just spew out some hokey rhetoric and say you're shlt for brains...nanny nanny boo boo"

      Seasoned response,,,,,,don't you mean butchered analogy? Seems to me that your wagon is almost empty and you are in dire need for complacent companionships of which to pamper the monthly morbidity rates!

      April 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • momoya

      @God's Oldest,

      We'll let you know when you start making sense.. Don't worry.. Keep on trying.. You can do it.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Word Police

      "I have nothing to refute your reasoned response"

      "Seasoned response,,,,,,don't you mean butchered analogy?"


      April 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  7. Reality


    Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

    The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    April 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm |

      It's pretty odd that the majority of philosophers of religion are theists then isn't it.

      Why is it the subject where people specialize in thinking analytically about religion have a higher proportion of theists than any other field of philosophy does, or than the sciences do?

      Well we have a contradiction, because according to this desperate attempt at once again discrediting Theism, one has to explain why philosophers such as Richard Swinburne (Oxford), Alvin Plantinga (Notre Dame), William Lane Craig (Birmingham), Alexander Pruss (Baylor) , John Lennox (Oxford), Greg Ganssle (Yale) , The Late William Alston (Syracuse), Nicholas Wolterstorff (Yale), Paul Moser (Loyola) John Hare (Yale), Brian Leftow (Oxford), have not ditched their Theism, when they have continuously studied it?

      I suggest the Anti-Theist drama queens try a bit harder, and perhaps make better use of your cognitive faculties that were shaped by unconscious, unintelligent, purposeless natural processes next time, because you just completely refuted your own argument.

      You might as well just said "NATUREDIDIT, ima free-thinker now, you all should be too".

      April 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • momoya

      The existence of a particular philosophy and much study toward that world view does not prove the world view correct..

      1. Many philosophers only believe in a "deistic" god, not a personal one which is an entirely different matter.
      2. Other faiths have as many so-called experts as the faith you practice.. Experts who argue but have no way to prove whose argument is correct does not prove anything except that the philosophy is rather interesting.
      3. It's stupid to believe in a god who cares about human beings but won't clear up all the confusion about his nature and will on this earth.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

      I never said it proves the worldview correct you abject ignoramus, I'm talking about what is being stated in this article.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You saw the article as discrediting theism? How so?

      April 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

      "1. Many philosophers only believe in a "deistic" god, not a personal one which is an entirely different matter."

      The Majority of Philosophers are actually atheists, but this point is irrelevant to what I was stating anyways.

      2. Other faiths have as many so-called experts as the faith you practice.. Experts who argue but have no way to prove whose argument is correct does not prove anything except that the philosophy is rather interesting.

      Strawman, Again this article states, "X causes Y", I'm arguing that if "X causes Y" then how come the "academic X doesn't cause Y", it's that simple, try and keep up.

      "3. It's stupid to believe in a god who cares about human beings but won't clear up all the confusion about his nature and will on this earth."

      It's actually stupid to believe that moral value can arise from valueless matter, but yet many people hold dearly to this concept. It's also stupid to believe that reason came from a reasonless universe, but yet many people hold dearly to this concept.

      I also highly doubt you've ever taken a look at Robert Maydole's Temporal Contingency Argument, so this explains why you think Theism is irrational. You probably haven't looked at ANY of the hundreds of peer-reviewed articles in Philosophy that argue for the existence of God.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, then, Nat, you think the study is, what? Flawed? That the conclusions the researchers found are incorrect?

      April 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      NATUREDIDIT Fails,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,...,,

      From what I've able to comprehend here in this blog, many atheists are yet wet behind their jollies! True, there are some really eloquent atheists who try in vain to jostle away with mainframed theists who themselves do sometimes stumble and fall downward but they do ever pick themselves up from off the fenceposts and struggle ever inwardly to where their true egoism does lay!

      April 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • GodPot

      @NATUREDIDIT – "It's pretty odd that the majority of philosophers of religion are theists then isn't it."

      Then you state "The Majority of Philosophers are actually atheists, but this point is irrelevant to what I was stating anyways."

      You contradict yourself as easily as your Bible does, good for you.

      "It's actually stupid to believe that moral value can arise from valueless matter, but yet many people hold dearly to this concept." Do just a smattering of research and you will see how silly your statement is. "The development of modern morality is a process closely tied to the Sociocultural evolution of different peoples of humanity. Some evolutionary biologists, particularly sociobiologists, believe that morality is a product of evolutionary forces acting at an individual level and also at the group level through group selection"

      April 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • momoya

      1. "Many" does not mean most.. Of course most philosophers are atheists.. No, your point isn't irrelevant.. You are using their ideas to prop up your beliefs, but the very people you are using would not approve of how you are using their words to insinuate something that they did not believe or approve.

      2. If all religions have their experts and intellectuals, then you having experts and individuals doesn't prove your view correct.. You don't show how your belief has any more of a claim for truth than any other religion with their experts.

      3a. Yep, it's stupid to "believe that moral value can arise from valueless matter," especially since morals didn't arise from valueless matter, but from animals with the ability to theorize and imagine future events.

      3b. Yep, stupid people that, and other stupid people believe that a big magic sky wizard cast spells with incantations to do everything.. People will believe any stupid thing.

      3c. Keep you "probably"'s to yourself.. If you're going to just start assuming whatever you want, who would be interested enough to read that?!

      April 28, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • momoya

      Why do christians say stupid sh!t like "valueless-matter," and "life just came from 'random chance'," and the like?!? It's like they have no idea what they are arguing about.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nat may have been talking about "philosophers of religion" as opposed to "philosophers" in general.

      Nat, where are the statistics on the number of philosophers of religion who are theists?

      April 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      "mainframed theists". Richard has blown another gasket.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Well, you would expect that people who decide to study something like philosophy of religion would be biased towards those who take religion seriously, which more and more educated people do not. I find religion and its role in society interesting topics, but there are so many subject matters of much greater real or potential signifcance that it is hard to imagine actually specializing in the study of religion to the point where one could be called a philosopher of religion. But even so, quite a few people who study religion objectively as something that can be subject to academic scrutiny are NOT believers as that term is typically understood.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  8. johnalanshope

    Religion and intuition can point to things beyond the scope of science. That can be valuable comforting.

    The problem starts when we focus too literally on the specific stories and symbols, and begin making judgments as to who is right and wrong.

    April 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      "Religion and intuition can point to things beyond the scope of science. That can be valuable comforting."

      And what would that be?

      April 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      "The problem starts when we focus too literally on the specific stories and symbols, and begin making judgments as to who is right and wrong."

      Do you kill one to save five?

      April 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      If one is right half of the time why should one worry about the other half of time? Then again, if one is wrong half of the time should one not worry so much most of the time remaining?

      April 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm |

      Voice of reason

      You use "intution" to justify the fact that your sensory perception is working correctly. You have no proof of this, but it is intuitively obvious to you that you are not just a brain in a vat. Unless you take it by "faith"

      Please L2 Philosophy

      April 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • momoya

      That's why claims have to verified many times by independent analysis and repeatable experimentation.. A "fact" asserts it's reality regardless of how much you do or don't like it.. If nobody can verify the ideas you believe to be true, you usually get locked up in a medical facility specially equipped for people whose reality isn't shared by anybody else.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  9. athiesm is hatred

    athiests know that Christianity represents love and turning the other cheek; therefore, they will keep attacking in order to bring some satisfaction to their self-loathing.

    April 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      "Christianity represents love and turning the other cheek'

      You are kidding, right?

      April 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      April 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • momoya

      Interesting theory.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And how ironic is it the brilliant poster who knows so much about religion can't figure out how to spell "atheist"?

      April 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • momoya

      I find that christians who red herring about hatred and the like are almost always very angry themselves, and imagine their god as even more angry–angry enough to send people to eternal torture–angry enough not to forgive or love instead of torment with fire forever.. Angry believers imagine an angry god who shares their exact anger..

      April 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      athiesm is hatred,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,,..,.,.

      2 wagons filled to the measure of overflowing! One is full of atheists while the other is full of theists! Just exactly how many in each wagon will fall off before the journey comes to an end? 5%? 10%? 25%? 50%? 75%? or all of them? It all depends upon the potholes they scurry upon and do the bouncey bouncey two shoe boogie woogie blue jean shuffle!

      April 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • michael

      Give me a break. Right wing fundies are at the forefront of hate and judging others.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Darth Vadar

      Michael, I feel your hate!! You should change your name, for it means one who is like God!! Does that bother you?

      April 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • AGuest9

      As witnessed by the Crusades and the Inquisition, among other atrocities, no doubt.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • sam stone

      christianity represents cultural stagnation by defining right and wrong based on the writings of long dead people from other cultures

      April 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  10. In God We Trust

    One Nation, under God.

    so help me, God.

    – American Currency
    – American Courts
    – American Pledge

    Feel free to find refuge in a chinese, or north korean. They'll have a place for you to camp-out.

    April 28, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No. I'll stay here; it's a secular nation of laws. Too bad for you.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Scott

      And, in every case that you listed the reference to god was added very late into our nation's history. Feel free to do a little research before you try arguing something about our nation's non-existent "religious background".

      April 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • momoya

      Since the "god" in your examples is unspecified, and god beliefs are so varied, you're left supporting a completely nebulous, va.gue idea.. How pointless.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Semper Fi

      The Cross on Camp Pendleton will always be a reminder of what the United States of America holds dear: God and Country.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hmm. I wonder how Jewish military feel about that, Semper.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • michael

      You only add fuel to the fire with those who think Christians are total id iots. This nation is suppose to have freedom of religion and a separation of church and state. Mottos that have been added recently do you more harm than good when trying to argue your point and only make you look like a close minded uneducated bigot.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  11. Stephen Hawking is focusing all of his analytical mite

    into a diaper.

    athiests cry foul

    April 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Who ya gonna call? DingbatBusters!

      just sayin by yet another silly name, with more good Christian love-thy-neighbor hate.

      April 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  12. Who ya gonna call? DingbatBusters!

    I truly want to thank all the religious posters for stopping by and proving the study correct.

    April 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  13. JP

    At least 50 Nobel Prize-winning scientists have professed belief in God. Were they not analytical thinkers? Read more: http://christiandiarist.com/2012/04/28/scientific-study-says-people-of-faith-are-stupid/

    April 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • momoya

      A belief in some more powerful mind that yourself is not belief in a personal god.. I would really like to know the TYPE of god these scientists believe in.. If it's Einstein's type, I call foul.

      April 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Just more silly propaganda.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • michael

      You have completely missed the entire point of the study. Analytical thinking makes you reconsider what being sold to you as the truth by the world biggest employer of pedophiles. It is not trying to infer it changes ones belief in a higher power.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  14. It is God's Wish

    for Stephen Hawking to critically-think into a pair of diapers.

    April 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Scott

      You are correct... prayer DOES change things. The things it changes are called perceptions of reality. In actuality, prayer changes absolutely nothing in the real world except for the believers views and beliefs. Try praying your way into winning the lotto and report back to us with proof when it happens. Or, even better, pray for a spontaneous elimination of cancer worldwide without scientific help. Again, we will wait for your results.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  16. chuck

    Odd coincidence. Stupid people also prefer Fox News. Curious.

    April 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  17. lastofall

    For this cause is the truth according to God hid from scholastic achievement, and is revealed only and exclusively to those that simply believe God's Word and obey it. Scholastic achievement is good as long as it keeps itself under [as in bowed down to] the Word of God; but when it begins to think above [beyond] that which is written, then is it no longer good. Whosoever we are, whether educated or uneducated, when we come to God's Word, we must needs come with our heart and mind bowed down under His Word, if we wish to actually have God's truth revealed to us. And no there is no other way to climb up to God's Truth.

    April 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If such rules had been followed, we would still be living in huts without electricity or running water and would die at 30 from an infected tooth.

      April 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      lastofall,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,...,,

      I am but a lowly christian and in the presence of people, I will not bow down to anyone for any reason of publicity's froesakdness! In my room of solitude will I bow to God! People need not be offended by things they cannot control or even command others to do! I am that which I want to impart! Preaching like yours is but likened to those in the biblethat do profess in public! There ways are not Gods ways! I do so love God and the Godly ideals yet I will not serve those who seek first the kingdom of God and in due diligences sakedness do no preachin of conversionisms for what good is it?

      April 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  18. Scott

    If the 'team' doesn't think that analytical thinking is superior, then they must not put much stock into their own study, or worse choose sloppy scientific methods.

    April 28, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Maybe they just prayed really hard...

      April 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Scott,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,.,,..

      Humanity's inferiority and superiority is at the baselines of all things be it theistic or agnostic or even atheistic! These 3 gems of thought provocatives have been slung upon the rivers rocks for so long they all have become Holy in their ownliness ways!

      April 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  19. AGuest9

    "Northern Ireland police find huge unexploded bomb"

    Yet another example of the results of religion.

    April 28, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      AGuest9,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,.,,..

      Still shoveling are we? Nuttin knew here!

      April 28, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • AGuest9

      Taking bets. Was the bomb planter protestant, or catholic?

      April 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  20. momoya

    Why do god believers trot out such useless arguments such as fault-finding in the evolutionary theory or "end times" prophecy.. It's like they have no idea what a sound argument really is..

    I'd like to see data on the results of logic tests given to atheists and various god believers.. I bet that the nonbelievers would score demonstrably higher on such a test.. (Of course there are exceptions).

    April 28, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Cq

      Or "Why can't scientists create a new universe?" 🙂

      April 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • momoya

      Or, stuff i.z k.e.w.l!!! Therefore, big sky daddy makin' spells and j.u.n.k!

      And seriously, "creationists," what is it that you really want science to do about your opinions?? How does "big inv.isible sp.o.oky designer used a spell" help our understanding of evolution or anything else?? Does it make experiments deliver their results in half the time, or what?

      April 28, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      momoya,,,,,,,,,, ,.,...,,

      Sounds to me oh momoya that your selflessness is shoveling ever harder and for what purposes is it that which you do shovel? Really?

      April 28, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • momoya

      Are you that dude that overdosed on JWH 018?

      April 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Scott

      Actually, those tests have already been run. The results showed that atheists have an average IQ approximately 6 points higher than believers. At least I think it was about 6 points. I don't have the study in front of me and will have to go track it down to double check.

      April 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • momoya

      I'm sure that there's correlation between IQ and atheism, but I'm specifically interested in the ability to process logic.. I'm not naturally good at it, myself, and so I've had to really study to understand proper arguments versus fallacies.. Maybe that's why I notice it so much.. I almost feel like the average god believer needs a very intensive course in logic BEFORE he attempts to debate about his god.. I feel like I'm struggling against understanding what a proper argument is not any decent arguments for god..

      My guess is that if you tested 100 atheists and 100 god believers (random selection) that there would be a SIGNIFICANT difference on the section of the test that evaluated proper logic processing.. I'd guess an overall difference of about 10-20%..

      April 28, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Cq

      Since a great many atheists were once believers, including myself, I'm inclined to think that they aren't any less intelligent than we are, but have learned to compartmentalize their analytical thinking with a firewall against it coming even close to their religious beliefs. There certainly are enough dire warnings against "doubting" and even questioning one's faith to keep people from being overly curious.

      Instead, they rely upon the apologetics of their ministers to offer half-a$$, intelectual-sounding answers that they can feel relieved with having. It's when they try using these pitiful arguments against atheists who aren't snowed by the use of flowery words that they might find these "answers" lacking.

      April 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @momoya – regarding IQ and religious belief.
      Data exist –

      Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations
      Richard Lynna, , , John Harveyb, Helmuth Nyborgc
      a University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

      "Evidence is reviewed pointing to a negative relationship between intelligence and religious belief in the United States and Europe. It is shown that intelligence measured as psychometric g is negatively related to religious belief. We also examine whether this negative relationship between intelligence and religious belief is present between nations. We find that in a sample of 137 countries the correlation between national IQ and disbelief in God is 0.60."

      There's also a beautiful inverse relationship between religious belief and education (refer to Pew Research Center studies).

      April 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.